What Are the Different Types of Abaya Designs?

A woman wearing an abaya and niqab.
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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2015
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Among the different types of abaya designs are traditional, modern and couture abaya styles. Some women who wear abayas prefer ones with embroidered designs and that feature other embellishments, such as jewels and lace. Abayas are also featured in an array of colors ranging from very basic dark colors to very bold ones. They may be purchased for everyday wear or may be worn on very special occasions.

While there are several different types of abayas, each is designed to offer modest fashion choices for a woman to wear while in public. Largely depending on where a woman lives, some have a choice in wearing an abaya while others do not. Abaya fashion, however, is a popular focus of many Muslim websites and blogs, fashion magazines, and specialty designers. Fashion shows for Muslim women also feature multiple abaya designs that range from very basic to very luxurious styles.

Designers specializing in abaya designs typically focus on creating styles geared toward modern women. Choices in fabrics, prints and colors are offered to women who shop for new abayas to wear while in public. Head coverings known as hijabs are usually paired with an abaya design to create an entire outfit for Muslim women when selecting modest fashions.


Traditional abaya designs typically feature dark solid colors with matching hijabs. Like all abaya designs, traditional styles are loose-fitting and cover all parts of a woman’s body from her neck to her feet including her arms. Besides the face and the head, the latter of which is covered by a hijab, the only other body parts visible by a woman wearing an abaya design are her hands and feet.

Modern abaya designs also focus on modesty, but also tend to be more diverse in that they are featured in bright colors and prints. Jeweled embellishments, sashes and patterns are also offered in modern abaya styles which helps to set them apart from more traditional styles. While modern abayas still cover almost the entire body, different sleeve choices and shapes are common in modern abaya fashion designs.

Many different abaya designs can be purchased for a woman to wear in her everyday life. Whether working, attending school, participating in a social event or staying at home, women may find abaya styles that are both comfortable and fashionable. Choosing an abaya design is much like shopping for other articles of clothing as many choices are offered to match a woman’s personal style and preference.


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